Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Alcohol Related Illnesses Pt.3

May 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Substance Abuse

Alcohol Related Illnesses Pt 3

Alcohol and the metabolites of alcohol are toxic to the body. Drinking heavily for a long period of time can take a toll on basically every organ in the body and cause a number of alcohol related illnesses. Even occasional binge drinking can be detrimental to health.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Rosacea

Ever wonder why some heavy drinkers have permanently flushed faces? This is a result of the alcohol related illness, rosacea. Rosacea is not caused by alcohol consumption, but it can exacerbate an existing rosacea condition. Rosacea is a skin disease that typically starts as a tendency to blush or flush. Persistent redness can develop, and rosacea can spread to the ears, chest and back. Alcohol also increases flushing of the skin, and therefore increases the redness, burning and itching sensations associated with rosacea.

Alcoholism can also cause a number of other dermatological symptoms that can mimic or mask the symptoms of rosacea. Hyperbilirubeinemia caused by liver failure can lead to skin itching and scratching. “Spider naevi” is a condition that causes the appearance of spider shaped red pigmentation on the skin and it can also result from alcohol related liver disease.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Dementia     

Alcohol related dementia covers the two main forms of dementia that are caused by long-term, excessive drinking- Alcoholic Dementia and Wet Brain (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome). Alcoholic Dementia is characterized by impaired planning and apathy mimicking depression. It is caused by alcohol’s toxic effects on the brain. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a condition caused by lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) often secondary to alcohol abuse.  It is characterized by loss of short-term memory. Patients can have symptoms of both forms.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Internal Bleeding

Even moderate drinking can cause changes in gastric acid secretion. Gastric acid secretion is secretion of hydrochloric acid and enzymes into the stomach to begin protein digestion. These increases in acid can damage the mucosa of your stomach. These lesions can lead to internal bleeding. Also, since alcohol impairs the ability of the esophageal muscles to contract, the esophagus is unable to protect the delicate tissues in your body from the acid in your stomach. Usually, the esophagus seals out gastric acid and pushes it back down into your stomach when it refluxes. This combination of increased gastric acid secretion and decreased esophageal action can cause damage to the delicate tissue of your throat and mouth.

A major cause of severe, uncontrollable bleeding in an people with alcoholism is the development of enlarged blood vessels within the esophagus, which are called esophageal varices. These varices develop in response to liver disease, and are extremely prone to bursting and hemorrhaging. Hemorrhaging varices are often fatal.

 Alcohol Related Illnesses: Anemia

Heavy drinking can cause the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells to be abnormally low. It also causes structural abnormalities in the cells that are produced, sometimes rendering them non-functional.  This condition, known as anemia, can trigger a host of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness. This illness is caused by both the direct toxic effects of alcohol and by malnutrition that is common in chronic alcoholics.


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